Last week I discussed some in-house options for the A’s struggling offense and highlighted the prospects that I think would fulfill the biggest need for the big club. While graduating some minor leaguers might be the quickest and easiest solution to the A’s offensive woes, you can be sure Billy Beane and the A’s are exploring any and every avenue with which to improve the team.
In fact I delayed the publication of this article because on wednesday the A’s acquired Scott Sizemore from the Tigers for lefty reliever David Purcey. Sizemore will head to AAA where he’ll play third base for the Rivercats. Ken Rosenthall of Fox Sports says the A’s have coveted Sizemore for a long time and jumped at the chance to get him for one of the team’s many relievers. The move is more geared towards the future, however, and likely won’t make that big of a difference in 2011 so Beane still has some work to do and with the AL West race as tight as it is this year, Beane might be more willing to take a risk.
A couple things to consider though: A few years back, Billy Beane traded Carlos Gonzalez (and others) for Matt Holliday and a few years before that he traded Andre Ethier for Milton Bradley. At the time they both seemed like great moves, but in hindsight, they A’s could have two all-stars in their outfield right now. If I were a betting man, I’d bet that Beane does not want to let another cheap, young hitter go even to bring back a quality big leaguer.
Nevertheless, let’s take a look at some possible scenarios and potential players the A’s could be targeting.
The clear positions of need, the way I see it are all on the infield, especially third base. Sizemore could help in that area as he’s a solid player, but I wouldn’t expect him to come in and light the world on fire. Kevin Kousmanoff is hurt and I wish him the best, but even when he comes back the A’s should be looking for his replacement. Andy Laroche got off to a hot start but has since been falling back down to his less than impressive career numbers.
One player that I would think would be relatively easy to acquire is Royals third basemen, Wilson Betemit. Betemit, a career journeyman, is not in the Royals’ future plans with top prospect Mike Moustakas knocking on the door, and is enjoying a very nice year, hitting .315/.384/.448. Still just 29, he could be a reasonably priced solution at third for a couple years since the A’s have no clear third baseman of the future.
The Royals could use some relief help, and though they have one of the best farm systems in baseball, are short on second base and center field. Second tier A’s prospects like second baseman Adrien Cardenas or center fielder Shane Peterson would probably get the conversation started at least.
The Mets have two infielders that they could look to be dealing as well. Two years ago Jose Reyes and David Wright were thought to be untouchable, but their contracts are winding down (Reyes is a free agent after this season) and the Mets are going through all kinds of money problems.
Both of these guys would represent huge upgrades over the A’s current left side of the infield and it would seem with new GM and former Billy Beane mentor, Sandy Alderson now making the decisions for the Mets, that the A’s might have a slight advantage in any negotiations. But Both Reyes and Wright would be extremely hard to acquire.
Reyes is playing very well and Wright has a couple of years left on his contract so both players would probably require the A’s giving up one of they’re top prospects to get them. I certainly wouldn’t give up top A’s prospect Grant Green for one year of Jose Reyes. I might for a couple years of David Wright but I’m not so sure Billy Beane would. On top of that, Wright fractured some vertebrae in his back and though he’s supposed to fully recover soon, it might be another big red flag.
A more likely target would be Mets outfielder, Carlos Beltran. If the A’s went after Beltran, they would also have to create some room in an already crowded outfield. Beltran, however would immediately become the A’s best hitter and it probably wouldn’t take much to trade for him.
Because of the Mets money problems, they could be looking to dump that last year of Beltran’s huge contract. If a team like the A’s, which oddly enough has room to add payroll, is willing to take on the entire contract, they’d probably get Beltran for a lesser package of prospects.
The last guy I’m going to discuss might be out of the A’s price range. Chicago Cubs infielder Aramis Ramirez is no longer a good fielder, and his hitting has declined, especially his power, but I think he has some more left in the tank. Ramirez is a notoriously slow starter, and even though his numbers aren’t what they once were, they still would represent an upgrade over any third baseman the A’s currently have. It comes at a price, though; Ramirez is owed over $14 million this season with a club option next season. But in the same mold as Beltran, I would think because of the high price in payroll, the A’s might be able to do a lesser price in the way of prospects.
They A’s are going to be very careful with how they shape their roster going forward. While this club has the pitching that can do damage in the playoffs, they don’t want to mortgage their future in order to get there. Most of these guys I’ve talked about should be able to be had at a reasonable price, and all of them would help out the A’s miserable hitting. The question is really whether or not the A’s can remain within striking distance long enough to stay relevant in the playoff race.
About the Author
Written by Josh Muller
My name is Josh Muller. I was born and raised in Oakland, California and currently live in San Francisco. I watch sports religiously and organize my calender year to coincide with baseball season. I'm a diehard A's and Warriors fan, love talking sports all day and believe that the words "Opening Day" are the two greatest in the English language.